Canyonlands – Needles

(nr Monticello UT)
Canyonlands National Park – Needles District was about 35 miles from the main highway. But, the road to get there was as fantastic as the park itself. The drive in on UT-211 had some really great scenery and rock formations.

Cliff, clouds

Canyonlands – Needles

The first point of interest was Newspaper Rock; a large panel of rock art left by natives and early pioneers. Later, a small lake by Indian Creek had some towering cliffs and lots of cottonwood trees. Other pull-outs along the road provided more great views.


Newspaper Rock

Mesas, lake

Lake and Mesa

Stream, tree, cliff

Indian Creek

Most of the hikes were beyond my limits. But, a short one to Cave Spring took me to some rock overhangs used for early camps by natives and cowboys. A staged cowboy camp had typical supplies. Ladders took me atop the ledges onto a slick rock trail leading back to the parking lot.

Overhanging rock

Cave Springs

Supplies under overhand

Cowboy Camp

Rock, Tardis, distant peak

Slick rock trail above caves

The Big Spring Canyon overlook had interesting rocks, with Slick Rock and Pothole trails leading to rock formations and water tanks. Parking lots were full. The Needles overlook, reached via CR-133, provided the deep canyon views and was worth the extra drive.

Pillar, rocks, clouds

Big Spring Viewpoint

Mesas, canyon

Needles Overlook

Mesa, peaks

View from camp

A free camp was found which had great views of the mesas and desert. The Needles area near Monticello was just one part of the park. To see the rest of the park required a drive to Moab, and another long road to get to Island in the Sky.

Camp: Hamburger Rock – BLM boondock
Scene: Mountains, cliffs, mesas, canyons

Also see: Canyonlands-Island in the Sky

4 Responses to Canyonlands – Needles

  1. The Good Luck Duck June 8, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

    Newspaper Rock sure is densely decorated!

    • Pleinguy June 8, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

      Yes, it includes native, Spanish, and pioneer drawings. It’s actually before you enter the park.

  2. Jan Mains June 9, 2015 at 7:01 am #

    This is one of our favorite areas. Not as many “tourists” as most.

    • Pleinguy June 9, 2015 at 10:45 am #

      Yes, I agree Jan. It’s much more relaxing than the northern section near Moab.

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